We’ve all been there – the morning after the night before, where the buzz of the alarm clock causes our heads to split in two, we feel weary and puffy-eyed, and we are cringing at the thought of our dance moves.
No matter how good your night was, this often leads to us to swear off alcohol forever. As we roll back beneath the duvet, we promise never to let another cocktail or drop of champagne pass our lips.
Of course, we never learn! And, unfortunately, the start of summer means that the temptation of drinking too much alcohol is often there. Thanks to the sizzling BBQs and parties, where there is often proessco, gin, cocktails and more on tap, many of us will want to sit in the sun and sip on a refreshing drink during the summer.
Yet, what does alcohol do to our bodies? Is it really worth the initial pleasure? And how can we fight those dreaded hangovers?
Here is our ultimate Hangover SOS to help save your painful, weary souls.
What Does Alcohol Do?
Aside from that initial buzz, the lowering of inhibitions and that feel-good factor we all know and love, alcohol ultimately does more harm than good.
In fact, right from the first sip around a third of your tipple gets absorbed immediately into the blood, while the rest is absorbed more slowly, through the small intestine. Once alcohol has made its way into the bloodstream, it diffuses into almost every biological tissue.
Of course, we all know what happens when we drink more than we can handle! The room and floor begin to spin, we lose control, our sight and balance become affected, our speech slurred, and you may even be sick. The next morning, you may experience some amnesia, feel sick, have a pounding head, suffer with bad moods and feel more tired than usual.
Unfortunately, long-term and serious alcohol abuse can lead to much more serious problems – liver and pancreas damage, an increase in your risk of developing cancer, depression, and an increase in your risk of other diseases, including stroke.
This is why it is important to always drink responsibly – know your limits, and stop drinking well before them. And always aim to have no more than a few units each week.
If you have overdone it, or you see a friend fall unconscious after drinking too much, always seek immediate medical advice or professional help.
What Causes Hangovers?
Most of us will have suffered the dreaded hangover, where you question everything you did the night before – and probably feel sick to your stomach at the thought of ever drinking again!
We suffer hangovers when our livers – already at breaking point – can’t flush out the high amounts of toxins and chemicals found in alcohol. Our blood sugars also plummet, and our bodies are dehydrated (alcohol is a dieuretic) and crying out for sleep.
As well as this, drinking too much alcohol can irritate the stomach and depress the brain cells, causing poor co-ordination, decreased response time and dizziness. When you put it like that, is it any wonder we suffer the next day…?
Hangovers also tend to be worse when we have mixed our drinks, or consumed drinks with congeners (chemical byproducts of alcohol fermentation), such as red wine, brandy, whiskey and dark beer.
How to Cure a Hangover:
Sorry to be party poopers, but the only way to completely avoid a hangover is to not drink at all – sorry! It also helps to line your stomach before drinking, and to knock back a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink.
However, if you’ve woken up with a hangover, then here is how to ease the pain and cure your hangover, naturally:
First, and most important of all: rehydrate the body! As soon as you wake up, beat that dehydration by enjoying a large, cooling glass of water. For extra hydration, try adding slices of cucumber to your water, or you could add fresh lemon to speed up detoxification.
We also suggest sipping on a drink which is designed to restore balance to your body’s electrolytes. Unfortunately, we lose a lot of essential nutrients and minerals when we drink, so we need to help our bodies to function properly once again.
Our H30 Hydration formula is full of ionic minerals to help supercharge your body’s hydration. It is also designed to help ease fatigue, and will leave your skin looking brighter and fresher, too.
Forget a greasy fry-up – overloading your stomach is not going to do you any favours! Instead, help your body to detoxify by eating naturally purifying foods.
Antioxidant-rich beetroot is great at helping the body to detoxify and can support your liver in flushing out toxins. It’s also known to cause an energy boost (many athletes swear by beet juice). Why not try our Pineapple Protein Smoothie Boats for the perfect restorative breakfast?
Other detoxifying foods to try include leafy greens, lemons, garlic and green tea, which will also help you to feel more human thanks to the slow-releasing caffeine.
If you’re not feeling too queasy, a decent breakfast can work wonders. And, again, we suggest you ease off the grease! Complex carbs, such as whole grain bread, can help to balance your blood sugars once more, and also restore your energy. Sweet potatoes are also a great choice as they are full of antioxidants and vitamins, so why not try our Sweet Potato Omelette?
Meanwhile, eggs are helpful for easing hangover symptoms as they contain L-cysteine, an amino acid which helps to break down and release toxins. The high protein content will also help you to build your energy levels right back up.
Bananas are also a great snack or food to eat when hungover as they help to replenish the electrolyte potassium.
The perfect hangover breakfast could include a slice of wholegrain toast, along with a serving of scrambled eggs, wilted spinach and tomatoes (a great source of vitamin C, and rich in the antioxidant lycopene), or a slice of toast with some nut butter and sliced banana.
Ginger is renowned for helping to ease symptoms of nausea and vomiting and can settle the stomach. Try sipping on a ginger tea, or add some fresh ginger to your food, smoothies or even a turmeric latte (turmeric is anti-inflammatory). You could also try peppermint tea to ease any tummy issues.
While sweating it out may well be more fiction than fact (after all, how many of you are really up to a grueling session in the gym when you’re dehydrated, have a pounding head, and feel exhausted?), gentle exercise can work wonders – if you feel up to it!
Try doing some mild Yoga stretches, or go for a brisk walk in the park to help you clear your head and lose those hangover symptoms. Just remember to stay hydrated!